The Gun Debate: Choosing the Wrong “Freedom”

I am a fan of freedom, in all its forms. So, I suppose I’m confused as to why your “freedom” to own and carry a gun just because you want to is more important than everyone else’s freedom to live their lives without fear of being shot. Can someone explain this to me? (Comments are open, so feel free to try.)

I know you can’t because it makes no sense. Should “we, the people” have access to guns to repel invaders, which is the real intent of the Second Amendment? Of course, WE should. Farmers should be able to shoot critters who ruin crops and women should be able to stop an attacker if they have to be out at night. Only a scant few will argue that there is some right to bear arms for protection.

However, the right to bear arms is in no way unlimited, and it incumbent upon the government to put limits on the availability of guns. For example, ever since the Brady Bill was passed, there has been an emphasis on speeding up background checks, when it’s become increasingly clear that thoroughness is more important than speed. No pissed off person should be able to go to a gun store and buy a gun, plus the accessories to make it shoot a few dozen rounds a minute and as many bullets as they can afford, and return to the scene that pissed them off and mow down a dozen or so. More important than getting guns quickly is a cooling-off period.

The fact that so few people seem to see a problem with the current regulatory structure surrounding guns is troubling. When we were kids, we engaged in civil defense drills, in which we all had to “duck and cover” and/or move to the nearest Civil Defense shelter. In First grade in an urban Catholic school, that meant the rectory basement across the street from the church, at the corner of Fulton Avenue and Fayette Streets just about a mile from downtown Baltimore. Those drills were mostly innocuous and reflected the possibility that the Soviet Union had declared its intention to nuke or otherwise attack us at some point.

Now, about 55 years later, most public and private schools hold “active shooter drills” because schools have become shooting galleries. The enemy is not some outside country that has declared itself our enemy, but rather, our fellow Americans who are able to get hold of a gun and shoot at anyone with impunity. Consider; the little asshole who shot Gabby Giffords and killed a dozen people in Tucson eight years ago, was not allowed to attend classes at the local community college because he was mentally ill and considered a danger, but he was able to walk into a gun shop and buy a gun, plus accessories and ammunition sufficient to kill as many people as he could, at will. We have a problem in this country and we have one major political party who simply will not address it. They even passed legislation prohibiting the CDC from even researching the gun problem in this country.

The gun control problem points to a problem with our view of “freedom.” At some point, we have decided that the freedom to have an orgasm by shooting off the biggest baddest gun in the world is more important than the freedom of our kids to feel safe and secure as they learn what they need to learn in order to become happy and productive citizens and taxpayers someday.

That’s what it’s about, really; we have developed a screwed-up definition of freedom, in which we put the none-existent freedom to buy any kind of gun you wish and carry it ahead of the right to live free and happy with no chance of being shot.

That’s just wrong.

Also published on Medium.

About Milt Shook

A writer with more than 45 years in the political game (and let's face it, it is a game). I am a liberal because facts have a liberal bias, and I really like facts. If you like facts, you'll like this blog. If not, you'll have a hard time.


The Gun Debate: Choosing the Wrong “Freedom” — 1 Comment

  1. Well said.
    The 2nd reads:
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    What gun lovers don’t want to address is simple: the part “…. the right of the people to ….” is clearly in the plural, not singular. That means “… well regulated …” “Malitias” keeping and bearing arms.
    The clear intend of the language has been perverted by the courts, changing it into ascribing it to mean any and all individuals get to own guns.

    Today’s NRA is not the friend of a free and healthy society. (Besides the issue of taking Russian money to bribe our elected officials. Don’t get me started!)